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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Reviewed by Zack

 hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

What is the answer to life, happiness, and to the universe in general?  According to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the brilliant Douglas Adams the answer is 42.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy series in which Douglas Adams explores how the universe would operate if aliens simply interacted with earth on a regular basis, the idea of the apocalypse happening a mile away, and the idea of the universe being such an accessible thing.  Inspiration for this book came when on one night Douglas Adams was staring at the stars wondering, "Well, if you can make a hitchhiker's guide to Austria, why can't you make hitchhiker's guide to the universe for hikers?"

The story begins rather farcical.  Arthur Dent approaches his house and realizes that the local counsel is trying to demolish it in order to build a bypass.  They never got permission to do this.  The way this is approached is very cynical and lighthearted.  You understand immediately that this is not a serious book, it is something in which you can see Douglas Adams at play. The plot then begins to move very quickly as Ford Prefect, his best friend, has told Arthur Dent that the end of the world is near.

They then approach the bar and people are beginning to question Ford over the certainty of the destruction of the universe.  An alien race known as Vologons are going to build a bypass for an intergalactic highway across the universe.  This is the beginning of the silly plot.  However Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect managed to board the Vogon spaceship before the earth is destroyed. Then they are subjugated to listen to poetry from the Vogan's and are then jetted into space only to be saved by president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.  They are then taken the plant of Magarathea where they learn, from a super computer, that the answer to everything and all life is 42. They then meet the Trillian mice who say they reject the process of recreating earth, and want to use Dents brain, in the hope it contains the question to the answer 42. When a fight breaks out, Zaphod saves Arthur at the last second and the group goes to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe kicking off the Hitchhiker's Guide novel.

My review of this book is that it is a brilliant revolutionary twist on the idea that science-fiction has to be a serious topic and then it can be taken very lightheartedly.  Ultimately there's no reason aliens can't be exactly like at least in the minds that we know today. However I do have a few problems with it in that the plot kind of doesn't move with the real sense but more with the idea. While the action is entertaining, I think that's where it's slightly fails as a adequate story.  However for comedy it works extremely well.  For this reason I would give this book a seven out of 10, as while it was not my personal taste in many ways, I thoroughly had an enjoyable time reading the book.

 Check out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the Newport Beach Public Library.

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